After the sharp stab of loss, I think helplessness is the most frightening thing I have felt in this journey.
When I am overcome with the sense that I will never make it, that I can’t go on, that I am not going to be able to put one foot in front of the other for even one more hour, much less one more day-I cry out to Jesus and tell Him that.
I have never gotten an audible answer, or a miraculous phone call or a perfect note in the mail–BUT I think in the moment of absolute surrender, the moment when I know with certainty that I can not do this without His supernatural grace, mercy and strength- HE gives it to me.
If you are in the early days of this hard, hard journey, do what you have to and find the safe circle that gives you time, space and grace to help your heart toward healing.
It may take longer than you’d like, but resting from the constant pressure of trying to protect yourself from the hustle and bustle in a world where child loss is misunderstood and frequently ignored will make a difference.
It took me a little while to realize that if I was going to survive this lifelong journey I had to make some changes in how and when I responded to requests to do something, be somewhere or participate in outside events.
Because no matter how worthy the request, there was only so much of me to go around and I was forced to spend nearly all my energy and time and effort on figuring out how this great wound was impacting me and my family.
I cannot overemphasize how much strength and energy is needed to do the work grief requires.
One of the magical aspects of sunflowers is how they move through the day to always face the sun.
Like other plants, they depend on light to make their food but unlike others, they seem intent on thanking the source.
I am always encouraged when I pass a patch of sunflowers standing stalwart, saluting in unison the life-giving rays. They remind me that I am just as dependent as they are.
I can’t draw breath without the light and life of Christ in me.
But I forget that sometimes.
Clouds of sadness and despair obscure my vision and I’m tempted to turn away. Life gets hard and I wonder why it has to be like that. Responsibility grows heavy and I can’t lift my head.
So I lose sight of the Son-who He is, what He’s done and how He continues to sustain me even when I can neither see it or feel it.
It’s just then I need to turn toward Him.
It’s that very moment I require extra grace to look up (which He supplies) and extra faith (which He endows) to see clearly.
When I do, He always renews my strength.
“Don’t you know? Haven’t you been listening? Yahweh is the one and only everlasting God, the Creator of all you can see and imagine! He never gets weary or worn out. His intelligence is unlimited; he is never puzzled over what to do! He empowers the feeble and infuses the powerless with increasing strength. Even young people faint and get exhausted; athletic ones may stumble and fall. But those who wait for Yahweh’s grace will experience divine strength. They will rise up on soaring wings and fly like eagles, run their race without growing weary, and walk through life without giving up.”
I do not for one minute believe that the Lord I love inflicted this pain on me for the purpose of “teaching me something”.
But I absolutely, positively believe that He can use it (and HAS used it) to make me more compassionate, kinder and more grace-filled than I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
Still, “becoming” is painful and requires that I submit to the hand of the Potter.
Grieving is not passive. Suffering isn’t something that happens to you and then you ride a wave of emotions until the circumstances quell. Suffering is like school, and grieving is how we accomplish the coursework. It’s not the kind of education anyone signs up for. But, when devastation enters our lives, we are automatically enrolled into the seminar on suffering. And, just as we would prepare for any class, we must download the syllabus and begin to faithfully complete the assignments.
Ann Maree Goudzwaard
This is truly insightful.
I think that’s what makes the difference between finding a meaningful way to live in the “after” or not.
Of course, at first NO ONE is keen to “download the syllabus”.
Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, 3 for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.
James 1:2-4 TLB
So for those of you fresher on this journey, don’t be dismayed or discouraged!
But at some point, what I (and others) refer to as “grief work” must be done.
In the meantime,I pray that the God of all hope fills you with His grace and strength and helps you hold onto hope-even on the days you feel overwhelmed and abandoned.